I Need Advice On Speakers, Please

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
2,707
133
I listen to alot of music on my eMac, and these speakers ain't cuttin' it. I'm willing to spend around $150 on some nice speakers. Anyone got anyone suggestions? I got my eye on these:

http://alteclansing.com/product_details.asp?pID=VS4221

And can someone tell me about some basic speaker/audio terminology is, like the 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, dolby etc. Thanks guys!
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
2.0 = stereo speakers, 2 of 'em, Left and Right. Bass response is limited by speaker size, power and design.

2.1 = Stereo plus a subwoofer, bass frequencies are handed to the single subwoofer speaker which is designed specifically for low bass reproduction (under 100 Hz), allowing the Left and Right speakers to be designed for the midrange and treble. Best purchased as a matched set. Single subwoofer because low bass frequencies are theoretically omnidirectional, you don't need to separate left and right.

4.1 - 7.1 = surround-sound implementations -- various combinations of Back, centre and side speakers in addition to the Left and Right (front) speakers and the subwoofer. Again best purchased as a set. These usually require a separate audio input for each speaker (other than the sub-woofer, which is optional). Some of them will simulate surround sound if given only the L and R inputs. Only a few models have a DTS or Dolby decoder built in which can decode a multichannel signal.

NOTE: there is currently little surround content in stereo CDs and most music content you will play on your Mac. In order to get anything more than simulated surround, you have to have multichannel source material and a playback software that handles it, plus the correct hardware. Currently only some DVD movies and some games are encoded for multichannel, and some rare Super-CD or DVD-Audio formats. Don't know that the Mac can handle those CDs playback anyway.

The only true surround sound you will get from a Mac without additional hardware is through the optical audio out port on PowerMac G5s and the 17" Powerbook G4. Those require a speaker set with a digital audio input and the appropriate decoder hardware. $250-$300 and up.

You can get a 7.1 USB audio interface (Sonica Theatre from M-Audio) and hook up to conventional surround speaker systems. But remember the caveat about sound sources.

Dolby and DTS are rival encoding methods for digitally wrapping multichannel sound into an audio file. Using them requires decoding by the same method, usually in hardware built into a powered speaker set or a receiver. If it doesn't say that it has Dolby Surround, Dolby Pro or DTS, than it doesn't have the necessary decoder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surround_sound
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Pro_Logic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Theatre_System
 

noelister

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2005
275
0
I like my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers they are quite nice. By far the best 2.1 setup I have heard. I believe you can find them for around 130. just look around.
 

chucknorris

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2005
559
0
Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
SamIchi said:
I listen to alot of music on my eMac, and these speakers ain't cuttin' it. I'm willing to spend around $150 on some nice speakers. Anyone got anyone suggestions? I got my eye on these:

http://alteclansing.com/product_details.asp?pID=VS4221

And can someone tell me about some basic speaker/audio terminology is, like the 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, dolby etc. Thanks guys!
CanadaRAM, as always, delivers with the technical jabber, so I'll try to help with a specific model.

I own Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II, which are 2.1 and offer more than enough quality for me, especially in light of the fact that I couldn't even get true surround sound if I wanted it.

They look great in combination with any Mac, but ESPECIALLY an eMac.

Depending on your level of audiophilia, you may want to purchase a separate USB amplifier. This is due to the fact that the Soundsticks rely on the computers amp, which is lacking for high-volume applications, but I haven't really seen a need for one.

You would probably find the best price on Soundsticks through buy.com, but I would check shopping/pricegrabber.com just in case.
 

pknz

macrumors 68020
Mar 22, 2005
2,480
1
NZ
My vote goes for Altec Lansing FX 6021. Great sound, great quality great style.
 

DaftUnion

macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2005
690
0
Wisconsin
noelister said:
I like my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers they are quite nice. By far the best 2.1 setup I have heard. I believe you can find them for around 130. just look around.
I second the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. By far better than the Altec Lansing. The ProMedia are THX Certified and are probably the best deal you can find for the money you want to spend.

Granted, there not exactly sleek looking or the greatest design BUT, they have a fuller sound than anything I've heard for computer speakers under $250. So if you care more about design than the actual sound of the speakers...get the Altec Lansing...if you care more abou the actual sound than how the speakers look, get the Klipsch ProMedia :)

I bought two of the Klipsch 4.1 (same speakers) and are some of the best sounding speakers in my house. :D
 

ipacmm

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2003
1,304
0
Cincinnati, OH
pknz said:
My vote goes for Altec Lansing FX 6021. Great sound, great quality great style.

I would also vote for the Altec Lansing FX 6021, I bought them a few months ago to replace my SoundSticks and they are great speakers.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
CanadaRAM said:
...
NOTE: there is NO surround content in stereo CDs and most music content you will play on your Mac. In order to get anything more than simulated surround, you have to have multichannel source material and a playback software that handles it, plus the correct hardware. Currently only some DVD movies and some games are encoded for multichannel, and some rare Super-CD or DVD-Audio formats. Don't know that the Mac can handle those CDs playback anyway.
...
Funny, I have at least 3 standard audio CDs that are Surround encoded. I will agree that the bulk of audio CD's are just pure stereo and all you need for those are a 2.0 or 2.1 setup.

Going back to the original poster, go into a store and listen to speakers with the type of music you like. No matter how much someoe else likes a certain type of speaker, it's you who are doing the listening.
 

mklos

macrumors 68000
Dec 4, 2002
1,896
0
My house!
I'll second the Sound Sticks w/sub (2.1 system). I have some that I connect to my PowerBook and and they sound absolutely awesome! You can't make these speakers go loud enough. I love listening to my music in iTunes with these speakers, and also watching movies. They look awesome sitting next to a Mac as well. Well worth the money.
 

Kalinatek

macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2005
138
0
i tried Creative twice in the past , when compared with my new Harman Kardon Soundsticks 2 they suck! the soundsticks 2 are more than amazing , the bass is great , the treble is sharp and they have decent midrange . when i adjust the EQ in itunes , they simply screaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaM :cool:
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
2,707
133
a

DaftUnion said:
noelister said:
I like my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers they are quite nice. By far the best 2.1 setup I have heard. I believe you can find them for around 130. just look around.
I second the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. By far better than the Altec Lansing. The ProMedia are THX Certified and are probably the best deal you can find for the money you want to spend.

Granted, there not exactly sleek looking or the greatest design BUT, they have a fuller sound than anything I've heard for computer speakers under $250. So if you care more about design than the actual sound of the speakers...get the Altec Lansing...if you care more abou the actual sound than how the speakers look, get the Klipsch ProMedia :)

I bought two of the Klipsch 4.1 (same speakers) and are some of the best sounding speakers in my house. :D
I'm seriously considerin' these now. I'd prefer sound quality over physical aesthetics. Although It'd be nice to have both. Keep the suggestions comin.
 

DaftUnion

macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2005
690
0
Wisconsin
SamIchi said:
I'm seriously considerin' these now. I'd prefer sound quality over physical aesthetics. Although It'd be nice to have both. Keep the suggestions comin.
Those Altec Lansing speakers are good for low to middle volume, and they do sound decent (heard these at Best Buy a couple of years back), 15 watts for the subwoofer, and 6 watts for each of the satellitles.

However for 45 bucks more you can get 200 watts rms power (120watts for the subwoofer and 80 watts for the two satellites) and THX certified.

Great deal on Amazon.com. $124.99 from the list price of $200.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000062VUO/104-8809284-1896762?v=glance

The 4.1 Klipsch ProMedia is connected to my iMac as seen in picture
 

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Bern

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2004
1,857
1
Australia
I definitely recommend the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II. I play my iPod directly to them through the dock and they sound positively amazing.

The sound is clean and crisp, The sub woofer has an adjustable bass response knob (and it glows and eerie violet colour).
 

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SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
2,707
133
DaftUnion said:
Those Altec Lansing speakers are good for low to middle volume, and they do sound decent (heard these at Best Buy a couple of years back), 15 watts for the subwoofer, and 6 watts for each of the satellitles.

However for 45 bucks more you can get 200 watts rms power (120watts for the subwoofer and 80 watts for the two satellites) and THX certified.

Great deal on Amazon.com. $124.99 from the list price of $200.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000062VUO/104-8809284-1896762?v=glance

The 4.1 Klipsch ProMedia is connected to my iMac as seen in picture
OK I think I'm 85% leaning towards these, it seems like the best choice, and $125 aint that bad. So what exactly is THX certified? Hmm I'm wonderin' if I need all that power? So does the watts contribute to the quality?

I'm still goin' to goto the mall one day and check out the speakers they have there.
 

Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
1,344
419
How about some ORB audio speakers (just saw the banner ad below this thead). They don't really sound like great speakers, but you gotta give them credit for trying.
 

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SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
2,707
133
Jay42 said:
How about some ORB audio speakers (just saw the banner ad below this thead). They don't really sound like great speakers, but you gotta give them credit for trying.
Yea :) , I saw that, I'm sure someone bought them for their "orbness".
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
2,707
133
OK, Just placed my order for the Klipsch's after readin' many, many reviews. I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. I can't wait to get these babies! :D

And thanks for everyone's replies! What would I do w/o MR ;)
 

YS2003

macrumors 68020
Dec 24, 2004
2,139
0
Finally I have arrived.....
vote for H.K. Sound Stick II

I have just placed an order for HK Sound Stick II with Small Dog. I have one cheapo 3 piece speaker which is paired to my Ti PB (I run this all night for iTune radio). I will use my other peakers (Monsoon 3 piece) for this. Then, I will use this HK Sound Stick with my 15" Al PB. I already have Creature 3 piece speaker and I like that speaker as well. I cannot wait try out HK Sound Stick II.
 

YS2003

macrumors 68020
Dec 24, 2004
2,139
0
Finally I have arrived.....
Yesterday, I received the package from Small Dog via UPS (because SD is located in VT and I am in NY/NJ areas, I usually get a day earlier than what UPS's web site's estimated delivery time:) ). I just hooked up HK Soundstick II with my 15" Al PB (I moved the previous speakers Moonsoon to my 15" Ti PB) and I like the sound quality very much. I positioned the subwoofer under my computer desk (as other posteres said that is the better spot for the sub to accentuate the base sound) right next to JBL Creatures's sub.

I am a sucker for design and HK goes well with the rest of my set up.

At first, I did not notice there are volume buttons on one of the satellite speakers as I was not able to bring up the volume too much. After close inspection on the manufal and equipment, I noticed the voluem buttons and everything is perfect now.
 

zen.state

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2005
2,182
4
I have the Logitech X-230 and they sound amazing. I got mine on sale for 50 (reg. 80 CDN) and for the price you simply can't do better. the 2 speakers are linked together by thick high quality wires then a very thick one connects to the sub with a VGA-like connector.

I still can't believe that I got a set that sounds this good and was constructed this well for only 50 bucks. Logitech knows whats up when it comes to speakers.
 

DaftUnion

macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2005
690
0
Wisconsin
SamIchi said:
OK I think I'm 85% leaning towards these, it seems like the best choice, and $125 aint that bad. So what exactly is THX certified? Hmm I'm wonderin' if I need all that power? So does the watts contribute to the quality?

I'm still goin' to goto the mall one day and check out the speakers they have there.
THX certified just means that there certified by Lucas film...anotherwords there really good. In short though, there are some standards you have to meet to get this approval such as being able to maintain a 105db rating, and a couple of other things. Maybe just google the term THX or look it up on Klipsch site if you want more information on it.

More watts is usually always better...volume being the obvious advanatage BUT the more watts you have the cleaner of a sound you can get from your system. Hope this helps. Granted, the Harman Kardon and the other JBL speakers are great too and probably look better, and all of three of them may have similiar sound quality, but the Klipsch surpass these by far when you go up to very high volumes...they don't get distorted, and they still sound just as clean as at low volumes.

The Klipsch aren't the best looking speakers for sure, I agree, but for $125 you won't find anything better for the price. That's almost a guarantee.
 

Dreadnought

macrumors 68020
Jul 22, 2002
2,055
14
Almere, The Netherlands
Go to an Apple store with a Cd with very known music to you and try different ones out. Make sure there is a number on the cd that has a lot of very low in it and ofcoure high pitched noises. Everyone has a different taste, it's not different with speakers/music and how you experience it. I read someone that likes the sound of it JBL creatures, but I have heard them at a friends, and they sounded really bad in my opinion. I heared a lot of good about those Klipsch. Another manufacturer that you should definitely consider is Bose. They always get a very good low out of the speakers without much distortion. Try them out/hear them out!